An­gels talk All-Star mo­nop­oly by Roy­als

Trout, Street opine on Kansas City hav­ing eight play­ers lead­ing in AL vot­ing.

Los Angeles Times - - BASEBALL - By Mike DiGiovanna Twit­ter: @MikeDi­Gio­vanna

The All-Star game is about to be­gin a Blue Pe­riod.

As of Mon­day’s up­date of fan vot­ing, which ends July 2, the Amer­i­can League start­ing lineup for the July 14 game in Cincinnati would con­sist of An­gels cen­ter fielder Mike Trout and eight Kansas City Roy­als, one of whom has the low­est OPS (on-base-plus-slug­ging per­cent­age) in the ma­jor leagues.

What in the name of Omar In­fante is go­ing on?

“Their fans are out there vot­ing; you can’t take that away from them,” Trout, the three-time All-Star who has a firm hold on the sec­ond spot among AL out­field­ers, said of Roy­als fans. “They have a right to vote.”

True, but with home­field ad­van­tage for the World Se­ries at stake, wouldn’t the AL be bet­ter served with Miguel Cabr­era, Prince Fielder or Al­bert Pu­jols start­ing at first base, Jose Al­tuve at sec­ond, Josh Don­ald­son at third, Nel­son Cruz at des­ig­nated hitter and Josh Red­dick in the out­field?

“I think the league is go­ing to have to take a look at it,” An­gels closer and prob­a­ble All-Star Hus­ton Street said. “From a fans’ point of view, I think it’s pretty cool what the Roy­als fans have been able to do. I think the Roy­als as a team have earned it.

“They’re win­ning games and bring­ing a lot of ex­cite­ment to Kansas City. That’s re­flec­tive of why they’re get­ting the votes they’re get­ting. But it doesn’t change the fact that, in some cases, there are guys more de­serv­ing to be the starter.”

The Roy­als have got­ten a huge boost from their 2014 run to the World Se­ries, where they lost in Game 7 to the San Fran­cisco Giants, but Street be­lieves their sup­port ex­tends be­yond the Kansas City area.

“There is no way they have that kind of lead just from peo­ple in Kansas City,” Street said. “They have to be get­ting votes from some­where else around the coun­try. They’ve made a pretty se­ri­ous im­pres­sion, which is worth con­sid­er­ing.

“What they’re do­ing proves win­ning as a team, with the type of energy they played with in the post­sea­son, mat­ters. They play with a lot of pas­sion and heart. You re­spect their abil­ity to take an or­ga­ni­za­tion and a group of guys and change the dy­namic, change the way the whole coun­try sees them.”

That might ex­plain why Roy­als catcher Salvador Perez, short­stop Al­cides Es­co­bar, out­fielder Lorenzo Cain and first base­man Eric Hos­mer, all wor­thy All-Star can­di­dates who shined last Oc­to­ber, are lead­ing voteget­ters at their po­si­tions.

But In­fante, who leads at sec­ond base de­spite a .204 av­er­age, no home runs, 17 runs bat­ted in and a ma­jor league-low .496 OPS, is a real head-scratcher.

Out­fielder Alex Gor­don (.259, eight home runs, 29 RBIs), des­ig­nated hitter Kendrys Mo­rales (.281, seven home runs, 41 RBIs) and third base­man Mike Mous­takas (.318, five home runs, 20 RBIs) are hav­ing solid sea­sons, but not good enough to be All-Star starters.

More wor­thy can­di­dates in­clude Cabr­era (.341, 14 home runs, 45 RBIs), Fielder (.342, 10 home runs, 44 RBIs) and Pu­jols (.276, 18 home runs, 34 RBIs) at first, Min­nesota’s Brian Dozier (.265, 13 home runs, 31 RBIs) and Al­tuve (.290, five home runs, 27 RBIs) at sec­ond, Don­ald­son (.315, 17 home runs, 45 RBIs) at third and Cruz (.323, 18 home runs, 40 RBIs) at DH.

“I don’t think fans should be ex­clu­sively in charge of the start­ing po­si­tion play­ers,” Street said. “But I don’t think the play­ers should be in charge ex­clu­sively.”

Fans vote for po­si­tion starters. Play­ers, man­agers and coaches vote for eight pitch­ers and a backup at each po­si­tion. AL Man­ager Ned Yost of the Roy­als will fill out the ros­ter while mak­ing sure each AL team is rep­re­sented, which will be chal­leng­ing with so many Kansas City play­ers.

The win­ner of the Al­lS­tar game earns World Se­ries home-field ad­van­tage for its league.

“The equa­tion to pick the team that’s go­ing to go out and win a game with that kind of mean­ing should be bal­anced,” An­gels Man­ager Mike Scios­cia said. “If MLB looks at that, great. But it is what it is, and it will be an ex­cit­ing game with a lot of tal­ent on the field any­way.”

Even if Trout is sur­rounded by so many Roy­als in the start­ing lineup?

“As long as Trout doesn’t have to wear a blue hat,” Scios­cia said, “I’m OK with it.”

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